Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been speaking around the state about a bill that was re-introduced in the senate to fight sexual assault on college campuses. After a trip to Elmira earlier in the day, she spent Friday afternoon at Union College.
Before the discussion a Skidmore College student met one-on-one with Gillibrand. She said that helped give back the power that she lost when she was raped.
“That’s what being a victim of sexual assault does,” said Reina Keifer. “It takes away your power as a person. But organizing this and being invited to this and having the support that I’ve had has really handed me back my empowerment as a young woman on a silver platter.”
Skidmore already has a lot of the policies in place that this bill would require, but in Keifer’s case it still wasn’t enough. The sophomore psychology student says she was drugged and raped by another student. The college suspended him for two years, but he can re-apply for entry after the two years.
“Essentially what the college is saying is it’s still not worthy of expulsion,” she said.
Reina never went to police. She spent a long time convincing herself what happened to her wasn’t a big deal before she spoke out. That feeling and the culture that creates it is exactly what Gillibrand is fighting.